Art by Sam Haney
Story By Natalie Clare
Seagulls graze the wave peaks, searching for lunch. The air smells like salt, with sand being picked up in its wind. The sun beats down and… DING DING DING. The alarm clock reads 7 in the morning and we are brought back to reality. Time to go to practice.
I have been a runner since the sixth grade, and have also not been on a spring or fall break vacation since then. With the amount of work that is put into a sport, many athletes cannot afford to take spring break off.
For myself, running is a sport based on building upon speed and endurance. Taking a break can halt your progress, and even lose some. Therefore, I do not have the flexibility to take a vacation right in the middle of season. Leaving would be detrimental to my performance for outdoor season.
This is why we should have longer summer and winter breaks. Spring and fall breaks come very abruptly, right in the middle of a working period. Sports are mid-season. School is halfway through a semester. The breaks are just too long, and not beneficial to the majority of the school population.
According to a National Federation of State High School Associations’ (NFHS) study, over 7.6 million students played sports in the 2010-2011 school year. The NFHS also said that 55.5 percent of all high school students play a sport. Therefore, about 1,000 students at FC play a sport, anchoring half of the school to southern Indiana sports practices.
Although students are not forced to stay, FC is a competitive school. It would be detrimental to not practice with teammates. For track, competing against teammates helps to push you into a faster time, something that is extremely hard to do alone. But in the summer and winter, running is in its off-season and our schedule is much more flexible.
This does not just apply to athletics, but academics are halted because of spring and fall breaks. With a semester being cumulative, having a break between each quarter is difficult to come back from. Students are expected to come back from break ready to move on to the next lesson, or even to pick up from where they left off. There are also teachers who give homework over break. Instead of dragging ourselves into school, we are forced to do homework “from the comfort of our own bed.” Our brains and body never get to use spring and fall break for what they are intended for: giving students a time to rejuvenate and finish the second half of the semester.
What is the point in a break if we do not actually get to take one? We should shorten both spring and fall break to one week and lengthen summer and winter.
There are many benefits to having long breaks after each semester. In the eyes of an athlete, we are in off season and just conditioning. Therefore, we would actually be able to let our bodies and minds rest. For academics, the semester is ended with finals, so the vast majority of teachers will not assign additional homework over the breaks.
Additionally, colleges are designed to have long summer and winter breaks already. So, if high school is meant to prepare students for college, why not have similar schedules as well? It seems redundant to have the several breaks throughout your whole high school career and then be thrown into a brand new schedule cold turkey once graduated.
With colleges in mind, a longer summer would mean more time to complete college courses early, as well as participate in other activities. Students could get a summer job and learn how to save money before going to college.
The purpose of a break is to allow students, and educators, a much-needed time away from school and allow our bodies and minds time to rest. With each semester being so demanding and mentally taxing, a true break is needed in order to excel to the full extent the whole school year.
As an active student, participating in a demanding sport, honors and high-level classes, and many other after school activities, a longer summer and winter break would be very beneficial to my needs. My schedule mirrors that of many students at FC.
“Longer summer and winter breaks would allow me more time to train for the season. It would also give me a chance to take summer classes,” said sophomore Sarah Langdon. “I have to take personal finance over the summer, but with such a short summer I’m not sure when I can take it. So, I’m going to have to do it over vacation and probably won’t do as well. If we had longer summers, I wouldn’t have to rush through training and summer classes and then finally get a break for a quick vacation.”
Short breaks are redundant in the fact that they are too short to accomplish anything. Spring and fall breaks result in homework because they cut right in the middle of lessons. Summer and winter breaks are too short to participate in summer jobs, camps, or additional classes all at the same time.
So, for those of you going on a sunbathing on a beach in Florida, or hiking up the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina this week, remember those who are anchored to Indiana, turning off that annoying alarm clock, getting up and putting in the work—all while supposedly having a break.